The Inner Mounting Flame is the debut studio album by multinational jazz-rock fusion band Mahavishnu Orchestra, recorded in August 1971 and released in November of the same year by Columbia Records. After their formation, the group performed several debut gigs before they entered the studio to record their first album featuring all original material written by guitarist John McLaughlin.
Reviewing the album for JazzTimes in 1998, Bill Milkwowski said:
Listening to this 1971 release, one is struck by the grandiose reach of the quintet that dared to call itself an orchestra. Pieces like "Meeting of the Spirits" and the fragile, acoustic "A Lotus on Irish Streams" are like classically-inspired suites in miniature. But it was numbers like "Noonward Race", "Vital Information" and especially "Awakening", fueled by Cobham’s smoldering intensity on the kit and McLaughlin’s raging, distortion-soaked guitar lines, that really grabbed rock crowds. More ethereal pieces like "The Dance of Maya", with its odd time signatures and arpeggios, and the haunting "You Know, You Know", a drum feature for Cobham, helped to create a kind of mystique about the Mahavishnu Orchestra that was wholly unprecedented for its time.